Market Research

You may know which countries you are interested in exporting to and just need to verify them.  Or, you may see the potential, but not know where to start to narrow this down. Here are some ways for you to get a better idea of where you should look and how to evaluate your choice.

I want to read about it

Choosing where to start can seem daunting, but there are some ways to narrow down which countries might be a good choice.

  • Sales - The first place to look is your own sales data. If customers have reached out to you from different countries, these countries might be the best place to start. Who has purchased or contacted you about buying your product or service?
  • Leads – Have you been to trade shows and talked to foreign buyers? Have you been contacted by foreign distributors? Reach out to colleagues, sales reps, or any other contacts you have in the industry to gain insight into which countries have potential.
  • Research
    • Search the internet for other companies selling similar products to yours and see where they are located and try to investigate who they might be selling to.
    • Research which countries use products like yours or have the demographic or economic factors that would make them candidates to buy your product. These factors could include:
      • Income – Is your product luxury item intended for a wealthy population? Is it a low cost, everyday item that most people in the world could afford? Is intended for developing countries with rapid rates of growth? A search of GDP per capita might help narrow this down.
      • Industry – Look to countries with strong or developing industries in the area you sell in. You find it is better to search for complimentary industries.
      • Infrastructure needs – Does your product require advanced road, telecommunications, cheap national distribution, internet, or manufacturing?
      • Environment – Is your product specific to certain weather or geographies? Can humidity or terrain influence who might be the best customer for you?
      • Cultural factors – Will your product do best in a technologically advanced country? Is it suited for cultures with restrictions on clothing or certain types of food? Do you think it would do best in very similar cultures to the US? Or would it have a more global reach?
      • Trade barriers – Every country has some sort of trade barriers. These could include prohibitive tariffs, complicated government certifications, country-imposed quotas, or corruption. Use this tool from Global Edge to learn about these country specific issues.
  • Resources
    • Global Edge – This database put together by Michigan State University’s International Business School has lots of country and region-specific information to help you learn about markets.
    • Market Diversification Tool – This tool can give you complex insight into which potential markets you should explore.
    • CIA Factbook – This is one of the most up to date, comprehensive sources for demographic, cultural, and economic information about every country in the world.
    • US Census Data – The US Census Bureau has a large amount of statistical information available. This is the link to their Foreign Trade material. Use this website for many other export resource information.
    • Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – This website was put together by MIT and uses sophisticated graphic systems to display country and product information with an emphasis on complexity of trade.
    • ExportMontana – Contact us to find other industry specific data including annual export information based on specific products. We are here to help.

I want to watch a video about it

Export Markets

Selecting Initial Markets

Researching global Markets

Researching the Global Marketplace

Contact us for more information

I want to read about it

Now that you’ve identified potential markets, it’s time to narrow this down to one or two. This will allow you to do more in depth research to decide if you should make the investment of time and money to really pursue these.

The US International Trade Administration has developed a Market Diversification Tool that uses eleven indicators to rank which countries your product has the most potential to be exported to. To use this tool, you'll need your products HS code, which is the globally recognized system to categorize and track all products. You can find your HS code by using the US International Trade Commissions search tool or the US Census Bureau's search tool. Remember, it is the first six digits of the results you find. If you have trouble, contact ExportMontana and we'll help.

I want to watch a video about it

Country Commercial Guides
Pick a country from the drop-down menu to watch a short video with an overview of how to do business in a specific country, the market potential, and trade barriers to consider.

Country Commercial Guides

I want to talk to a person about it

Contact us